YELLOW 1. Yellow Theme 2. Take My Bones Away 3. March to the Sea 4. Little Things 5. Twinkler 6. Cocainium 7. Back Where I Belong 8. Sea Lungs 9. Eula GREEN 1. Green Theme 2. Board Up the House 3. Mtns. (The Crown & Anchor) 4. Foolsong 5. Collapse 6. Psalms Alive 7. Stretchmarker 8. The Line Between 9. If I Forget Thee, Lowcountry2012 Relapse Records
The Baroness you know and love is gone. Let's just get that over with right off the bat. You've probably heard a track or two by now and thought, "that was OK, but I can't wait to hear the heavy stuff." Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but that IS the heavy stuff. Yellow & Green is a hard rock record, with nary a hint of Baroness' old sludge metal sound on the entire disc... wait, make that TWO discs. Like it or not, Baroness is about to cross over from the hipsters' favorite thinking-metal band to the metalheads' favorite indie rock act. Despite that fact, Yellow & Green is an inspired collection of music, albeit one on the softer side. Yellow features more of the straightforward fare. Beginning with lead single "Take My Bones Away," this might be considered a "classic" Baroness track if not for the baritone vocal delivery. "Little Things" could easily be a Foo Fighters cut. "March To The Sea" is burly, but poppy with a flurry of guitar pull-offs hidden beneath a big chorus. A swirling 70's psychedelia permeates "Cocanimum" complete with a retro-fuzz refrain and booming Bonham-esque drumming. Yellow concludes with "Eula" a number thick with sadness. The brooding dénouement is a fitting finale, prepping listeners for the album's second side. Green is a lighter and more "experimental" affair. Opener "Green Theme" distorts a standard jazz chord progression. The bouncy bassline of "Board Up The House" complements an Indian-influenced guitar lick ala Blue Record's "Jake Leg." The following "Mtns. (The Crown & Anchor)" and "Collapse" pacify once again with gentle finger picking and breathy vocal harmonies reminiscent of the moodier Beach Boys songs. "Psalms Alive" is based around a 90's style electronica-inspired drum loop before becoming a giant rocker. The double album concept makes for a bold statement piece and is an enormous musical achievement, but Yellow & Green isn't perfect. "Back Where I Belong" is sappy and disjointed. "Sea Lungs" pushes the vocals into warbly territory. "The Line Between" teases with a heavy intro but falls short of expectations and Green's instrumental finish "If I Forget Thee Lowcountry" underwhelms. Saturated with multiple guitar tones, effects, and other textural instruments, along with a variety of identifiable influences and an abundance of chops, Yellow & Green succeeds as a cerebral and surprisingly hooky listen. Instead of long oblique passages, these songs all have very conscious trajectories and while there may be a lack of audible rage, they still carry the melancholic weight fans expect from Baroness. Bottom Line: Yellow & Green requires more than a few spins to fully absorb its gravitas, but thrown into a playlist with Red and Blue they fit right in and help to better balance the broad spectrum of Baroness' discography.